Now that we have had some time to let this suspension of play for the NHL sink in, now we ask, what is next? Yes, that is correct; The NHL suspension is real. It was not a bad dream, even though you could argue it is a nightmare.
With the NHL’s decision to suspend league play until further notice, the Philadelphia Flyers currently sit in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division and as the 4th seed overall in the Eastern Conference. There have been rumblings of the possibility that when/if the NHL decides to resume this season, they may jump right into post-season play. Philly would be set for a Keystone clash with the Penguins in Round 1 if this scenario plays out.
A first-round matchup with the Penguins would certainly be a tough draw for the Flyers. In the season series, the Pens won 2 out of 3, finishing 2-1-0 while Philly finished 1-1-1. Most years, I would be concerned with this matchup for the Flyers, but this season has not been like most years. The Flyers have been one of the league’s best for the majority of the season. Equipped with above average special teams, while also being in the top 10 of both goals scored and goals against; the Flyers find themselves in an advantageous spot.
The silver lining of the NHL deciding to suspend play is the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers can use this break to get healthy for a potential playoff run. The past few weeks have seen the Flyers take some hits to their lineup. They lost James van Riemsdyk to a broken hand, Philippe Myers to a fracture in his knee, and Nate Thompson sprained his knee in Tuesday’s game with the Bruins. Time off allows all three of these players to get healthy. With their eyes on chasing down Lord Stanley this spring/summer, getting these players back would be an enormous boost to the Flyers’ chances.
The Waiting Game
Of course, all of this is speculation that the NHL will eventually resume play of the 2019-2020 season. Nobody knows what the future holds not only for the NHL, but for the world thanks to COVID-19. It is certainly a shame, but the health and safety of everybody comes before anything else. I hate to admit it, but the NHL made the right call in this situation. Now, we must wait to see what comes next for the league. Not to use an old cliche, but we must approach this stoppage one day at a time. Hopefully, there is more hockey to come sooner rather than later.
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